Friday, December 21, 2007

Bayadera: World Music in the O.C.

Photo credit: Tyler Davis
Since Bayadera emerged on the area music scene at the beginning of the decade, the band has been acclaimed for blending modern rock and world music influences together in a way that both challenges and rewards discerning listeners.

And while the group's early recordings, including a 2001 self-titled release and 2003's "90 Million Miles," showcased the quintet's solid songwriting and dazzling live performances, the newly issued "Rotation of the Earth" is clearly a triumph. Produced and mixed by Matthew James Walin at Bitemark Studios in Orange, the CD showcases Bayadera's wide-ranging soul in spades.

"There are countless differences," bassist Chris Payne said in comparing Bayadera's earlier recordings with "Rotation of the Earth."
"The first one was written very early on when we were just beginning to work with Gina (singer Gina Bandy). This one, all of us have written the songs together and are used to each other and where we fit."
The group's dynamic lineup also features electric guitarist Saatara, acoustic guitarist Dat Nguyen and drummer Donn Untiet. Untiet's wife, Evonne Untiet, frequently adds percussion at the band's live shows.

The band's artistic growth isn't the only major ingredient that makes "Rotation of the Earth" so special; Walin's involvement was also critical. Indeed, Payne explained that Walin wouldn't allow the band to settle for lackluster performances, recordings or mixes while in the studio.
"He was all about making it better," Bandy said of Walin.
"Because we have been together so long, we needed that outside someone to refine our music. Matt came in and got us to tackle this."

Walin said he has certain things he considers before working with an artist and signing them to his label.
"The biggest thing is a gut feeling. Technically, the band has to have a great singer and great songs," Walin said.
Walin was especially impressed when the band came into the pre-production stage of working on the CD armed with 40 or so songs.
"They are such a great live band, I wanted to capture that," Walin said.
After three months of pre-production, Walin ultimately recorded about 15 songs – 13 of which appear on "Rotation of the Earth." Most of the basic tracks were recorded over a few days, and many of Bandy's first vocals (often called "scratch vocals") were kept to help keep a strong live sound on the album.
"We're all in this band because we're happy and enjoying it," Bandy said of the band.
That positive approach to working together and making music seems to drive Bayadera and the troupe's burgeoning success.
"The one thing I've always liked about it is everybody is concerned about the song and everybody has the band in mind," explained Donn Untiet.

Bayadera is not a typical band in terms of sound or background. Nguyen is blind, and the group's multi-ethnic lineup provides even more depth to the sonic proceedings.
"The chemistry with us is great," Nguyen said. "We are living proof of a group (with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences) that can work together."
Nguyen is such a fantastic guitar player and has such an engaging personality, the other members of Bayadera noted they often forget that he is blind.
"Most people don't have his confidence," Bandy said.
A highlight of the band's career came in October, when Bayadera was invited by Stevie Wonder to perform "Superstition" with him when he received the Governor's Award of Excellence at the 25th annual Media Access Awards at Universal Studios' Globe Theatre on Oct. 14.
"It was a life-changing experience personally and professionally. I grew up with that music in my house," Payne said.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Grammy Nominations announced

Press Release
Source: The Recording Academy

Foo Fighters, Vince Gill, Herbie Hancock, Kanye West and Amy Winehouse Vie for Album Of The Year at 50th Annual GRAMMY(R) Awards on Feb. 10, 2008

Thursday December 6, 12:10 pm ET
Kanye West Leads Nominations with Eight; Amy Winehouse Earns Six
Feist (pictured on left), Ledisi, Paramore, Taylor Swift and Amy Winehouse Up for Best New Artist
SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nominations for the 50th Annual GRAMMY® Awards were announced today by The Recording Academy® reflecting one of the most diverse years ever with the Album Of The Year category alone representing the country, hip-hop, jazz, pop and rock genres. The press event was held at The Music Box @ Fonda in Hollywood and was attended by national and international media, as well as key music industry executives. Artists reading nominations this morning included Akon, Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park), Fergie, Vince Gill, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Jam, Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), George Lopez, Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park) and Taylor Swift. The 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on "GRAMMY Sunday," Feb. 10, 2008, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live in high definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

Kanye West tops the nominations with eight, Amy Winehouse garners six, and the Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, and T-Pain each earn five nods. Akon, Dierks Bentley, Chris Daughtry, Feist, Tim McGraw, John Newton, Ne-Yo, Rihanna, and Bruce Springsteen receive four each.
"This year's nominations truly reflect a diverse and talented community of artists and creators who represent some of the most exceptional music of the year," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "The GRAMMY Awards process once again has yielded a comprehensive group of excellent nominees and coupled with the fact that it's our milestone 50th year, this year's telecast promises music fans a spectacular show filled with stellar performances and unique 'GRAMMY Moments' for which Music's Biggest Night™ has come to be renowned."
Following is a sampling of nominations in 110 categories from the GRAMMY Awards' 31 Fields:
Nominees for Album Of The Year are:
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace -- Foo Fighters
These Days -- Vince Gill
River: The Joni Letters -- Herbie Hancock
Graduation -- Kanye West
Back To Black -- Amy Winehouse

Nominees for Record Of The Year are:
"Irreplaceable" -- Beyoncé
"The Pretender" -- Foo Fighters
"Umbrella" -- Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z
"What Goes Around...Comes Around" -- Justin Timberlake
"Rehab" -- Amy Winehouse

Best New Artist nominees are:
Taylor Swift
Amy Winehouse

Song Of The Year nominees include:
"Before He Cheats" -- John Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)
"Hey There Delilah" -- Tom Higgenson, songwriter (Plain White T's)
"Like A Star" -- Corinne Bailey Rae, songwriter (Corinne Bailey Rae)
"Rehab" -- Amy Winehouse, songwriter (Amy Winehouse)
"Umbrella" -- Shawn Carter, Kuk Harrell, Terius "Dream" Nash & Christopher Stewart, songwriters (Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z)

Nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album go to:
Lost Highway -- Bon Jovi
The Reminder -- Feist
It Won't Be Soon Before Long -- Maroon 5
Memory Almost Full -- Paul McCartney
Back To Black -- Amy Winehouse

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals nods go to:
"Steppin' Out" -- Tony Bennett & Christina Aguilera
"Beautiful Liar" -- Beyoncé & Shakira
"Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" -- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
"The Sweet Escape" -- Gwen Stefani & Akon
"Give It To Me" -- Timbaland Featuring Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake

Best Pop Instrumental Performance nominees are:
"Off The Grid" -- Beastie Boys
"Paris Sunrise #7" -- Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
"Over The Rainbow" -- Dave Koz
"One Week Last Summer" -- Joni Mitchell
"Simple Pleasures" -- Spyro Gyra

For Best Dance Recording, the nominees are:
"Do It Again" -- The Chemical Brothers
"D.A.N.C.E." -- Justice
"Love Today" -- Mika
"Don't Stop The Music" --Rihanna
"Love Stoned/I Think She Knows" -- Justin Timberlake

Nominations for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance go to:
"Timebomb" -- Beck
"Only Mama Knows" -- Paul McCartney
"Our Country" -- John Mellencamp
"Radio Nowhere" -- Bruce Springsteen
"Come On" -- Lucinda Williams

Best Rock Album nominees are:
Daughtry -- Daughtry
Revival -- John Fogerty
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace -- Foo Fighters
Magic -- Bruce Springsteen
Sky Blue Sky -- Wilco

Nods for Best Rock Song go to:
"Come On" -- Lucinda Williams, songwriter (Lucinda Williams)
"Icky Thump" -- Jack White, songwriter (The White Stripes)
"It's Not Over" -- Chris Daughtry, Gregg Wattenberg, Mark Wilkerson & Brett Young, songwriters (Daughtry)
"The Pretender" -- Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel & Chris Shiflett, songwriters (Foo Fighters)
"Radio Nowhere" -- Bruce Springsteen, songwriter (Bruce Springsteen)

Nominees for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals are:
"Same Girl" -- R. Kelly Featuring Usher
"Disrespectful" -- Chaka Khan Featuring Mary J. Blige
"Hate That I Love You" -- Rihanna Featuring Ne-Yo
"Baby" -- Angie Stone Featuring Betty Wright
"Bartender" -- T-Pain Featuring Akon

For Best Contemporary R&B Album, the nominees are:
Konvicted -- Akon
Just Like You -- Keyshia Cole
Fantasia -- Fantasia
East Side Story -- Emily King
Because Of You -- Ne-Yo

Best Urban/Alternative Performance nods go to:
"Make A Baby" -- Vikter Duplaix
"That's The Way Of The World" -- Dwele
"Daydreamin'" -- Lupe Fiasco Featuring Jill Scott
"Fantasy" -- Meshell Ndegeocello
"Dream" -- Alice Smith

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration nods go to:
"I Wanna Love You" -- Akon Featuring Snoop Dogg
"Kiss, Kiss" -- Chris Brown & T-Pain
"Let It Go" -- Keyshia Cole Featuring Missy Elliott & Lil' Kim
"Umbrella" -- Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z
"Good Life" -- Kanye West Featuring T-Pain

Nominees for Best Rap Song are:
"Ayo Technology" -- N. Hills, Curtis Jackson, Timothy Mosley & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (50 Cent Featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland)
"Big Things Poppin' (Do It)" -- Clifford Harris & Byron Thomas, songwriters (T.I.)
"Can't Tell Me Nothing" -- A. Davis & Kanye West, songwriters (Kanye West)
"Crank That (Soulja Boy)" -- Soulja Boy Tell'Em, songwriter (Soulja Boy Tell'Em)
"Good Life" -- A. Davis, F. Najm & K. West, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring T-Pain)

For Best Rap Album, the nominees are:
Finding Forever -- Common
Kingdom Come -- Jay-Z
Hip Hop Is Dead -- Nas
T.I. vs T.I.P. -- T.I.
Graduation -- Kanye West

Nods for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals go to:
"Days Aren't Long Enough" -- Steve Earle & Allison Moorer
"Because Of You" -- Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson
"I Need You" -- Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
"Lost Highway" -- Willie Nelson & Ray Price
"Oh Love" -- Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood

For Best Country Song, the nominees are:
"Before He Cheats" -- Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)
"Give It Away" -- Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon & Jamey Johnson, songwriters (George Strait)
"I Need You" -- Tony Lane & David Lee, songwriters (Tim McGraw & Faith Hill)
"If You're Reading This" -- Tim McGraw, Brad Warren & Brett Warren, songwriters (Tim McGraw)
"Long Trip Alone" -- Brett Beavers, Dierks Bentley & Steve Bogard, songwriters (Dierks Bentley)

Nominations for Best Country Album are:
Long Trip Alone -- Dierks Bentley
These Days -- Vince Gill
Let It Go -- Tim McGraw
5th Gear -- Brad Paisley
It Just Comes Natural -- George Strait

For Best Contemporary Jazz Album, the nominees are:
Party Hats -- Will Bernard
Downright Upright -- Brian Bromberg
Re-Imagination -- Eldar
River: The Joni Letters -- Herbie Hancock
He Had A Hat -- Jeff Lorber

Nods for Best Jazz Vocal Album go to:
Avant Gershwin -- Patti Austin
Red Earth - A Malian Journey -- Dee Dee Bridgewater
Music Maestro Please -- Freddy Cole
Nightmoves -- Kurt Elling
On The Other Side -- Tierney Sutton
This year's Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nominations go to: Howard Benson, Joe Chiccarelli, Mike Elizondo, Mark Ronson, and Timbaland.
In the newly added Best Zydeco Or Cajun Music Album category, nominations go to: Le Cowboy Creole (Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie), King Cake (Lisa Haley), Live: Á La Blue Moon (Lost Bayou Ramblers), Blues De Musicien (Pine Leaf Boys), Racines (Racines), The La Louisianne Sessions (Roddie Romero And The Hub City All-Stars), and Live! Worldwide (Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience).
In the Latin Field, Best Latin Rock, Alternative Or Urban Album has now been split into two categories. Nominations for Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album are: No Hay Espacio (Black:Guayaba), Adelantando (Jarabe De Palo), Amantes Sunt Amentes (Panda), Kamikaze (Rabanes), Memo Rex Commander Y El Corazón Atómico De La Via Láctea (Zoé). For Best Latin Urban Album, nods go to: E.S.L. (Akwid), El Abayarde Contra-Ataca (Tego Calderón), Residente O Visitante (Calle 13), El Cartel: The Big Boss (Daddy Yankee), and Vacaneria! (Fulanito).
GRAMMY ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on Dec. 12 to the voting members of The Recording Academy. They are due back to the accounting firm of Deloitte by Jan. 9, 2008, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the telecast.
The 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich and John Cossette are executive producers, Walter C. Miller is producer/director, Tisha Fein is the coordinating producer, and Tzvi Small is supervising producer.
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. In its 50th year, The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit